Sainsbury’s launches till-free trial

Sainsburys2UK supermarket Sainsbury’s has opened the door’s of the UK’s first till-free store this week.

Shoppers at Sainsbury’s Holborn Circus convenience store in London can check out the new concept store, which Sainsbury’s group chief digital officer Clodagh Moriarty describes as an “experiment”.

The supermarket chain will put SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go technology to the test in the bespoke food-to-go store, making grocery shopping quicker and more convenient. Customer feedback from the experiment will help the business develop the SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app further before being rolled out more widely.

“We know our customers value their time and many want to shop as quickly as possible – technology is key to that,” Moriarty said.

“This is an experiment rather than a new format for us – it hasn’t been done in the UK before and we’re really excited to understand how our customers respond to the app experience.

“We’ll be with our customers and colleagues all the way over the coming months, iterating continuously based on their feedback before we decide if, how and where we make this experience more widely available.”

Customers can scan and pay for their groceries via the app on their smartphone. They can scan their groceries at the stores, pay in the app and scan a QR code. Sainsbury’s has removed all the checkout area and tills.

Holborn Circus till-free store’s products are tailored for busy customers on-the-go where they can purchase ready-to-eat products, including drinks, snacks, breakfast pots, freshly baked pastries and sandwiches.

The supermarket workers will focus on customer service and stock inventory. The store will also have a help desk if shoppers prefer to pay in cash or cards. The experiment will run for three months.

Walmart trials new digitised store format

Supermarket retailer Walmart also launched a new technology this week, the Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL) that allows it to monitor its physical stores more efficiently and keep costs under control.

The retail giant is testing this new technology, which includes artificial intelligence-enabled cameras, interactive displays and a massive data centre, in its 50,000-square-foot neighborhood market grocery store in Levittown, New York.

According to IRL CEO Mike Hanrahan, the location is one of Walmart’s busiest stores and has more than 30,000 items and this allows them to test out the new technology concept in a real-world environment.

“We’ve got 50,000 square feet of real retail space. The scope of what we can do operationally is so exciting,” Hanrahan said.

IRL is set up to gather information about what’s happening inside the store through an array of sensors, cameras and processors. It has a combination of cameras and real-time analytics that will automatically trigger out-of-stock notifications to internal apps that alert associates when to re-stock, detect the products on the shelf and compare the quantities, among others.

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